KwaZulu-Natal veteran snake rescuer, Nick Evans, was excited when he received a call-out to Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Game Reserve to help remove a black mamba from a thatched roof.
Evans said he was actually honoured to be invited to the game reserve by African Wildlife Vets to assist with the removal of the resident snake that had been occupying a thatched roof at the Centenary Centre, making some staff quite uneasy to say the least.
“Mambas like roofs, because they’re generally quite safe, and there’s food. Usually it’s rats, but I know at this location, there were a lot of bat’s roosting in the thatch.
“The mamba would sprawl out over the beams and if it felt threatened. It would through a gap in an adjacent wall, and into a ceiling of an office.
“That’s where I caught it. It wasn’t the most difficult mamba rescue I’ve experienced, but it wasn’t without challenges,” said Evans.
He said what was interesting is that the snake was riddled with ticks.
“I’ve only ever pulled off a few ticks off Durban mambas before. This snake had perhaps a dozen or so. Luckily, I had many hands to help me in pulling them off.”
The snake was a female mamba, weighing 900 grams and was 2.2 metres long. Evans said he hopes that she starts fattening up now that the ticks are gone.
Evans said he decided to make the most of the trip, so a talk on snakes was arranged for field rangers, researchers and vets, all from different organisations, all working towards conserving our wildlife.
“For my wife and I, it was a very inspirational trip. We got to chat to people who do such important work in the reserve, and surrounding areas.
“We spoke to wildlife vets, who dart pretty much any animal you can think of, from cars or helicopters, to either treat or relocate them for various reasons.”
They also spoke to people who monitor the movements of endangered wildlife in the reserve, and other reserves, while also keeping note of population numbers and more.
“We spoke to someone who has the thrilling job of monitoring Black Rhino’s on foot – and people think working with Black Mambas is risky,” said Evans.
He said there were many more interesting people, with equally important roles.
He said these conservationists live exciting lives and see and experience things that make nature lovers green with envy.
“But they have to experience some challenges that no one would envy.
“Like having to capture and care for a rhino calf, standing besides its dead or dying, hacked up mother, who suffered for absolutely no good reason.
“Or having to see and treat snared animals. Or having to try and conserve the endangered wild dog, whose ‘adventurous’ habits end up getting them in life-threatening trouble, due to being restricted to reserves surrounded by people.
“These conservationists deserve so much praise and respect,” said Evans.
He went on to encourage people to visit game reserves in the province.